Check out our festival coverage, including that from SXSW 2017 and BIGSOUND 2017, through here.

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(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #122: Alice Jemima

 
By on Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. Today’s featured artist is Devonshire electropop singer/songwriter and producer Alice Jemima, whose smoothly rhythmic single ‘Electric’ is streaming just below. Jemima released an EP titled ‘Liquorice’ last June, and her self-titled debut LP was released Friday the 3rd of March via Sunday Best/Domino. Jemima also recently unveiled a new video for her sensual cover of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggity’. If you haven’t heard that cover yet, you can check it out here, before you dig in to Jemima’s quickfire replies.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky . . .)
Electro, indie, pop.

(If this will be your first time at SXSW) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I’ve heard great things, and it’s one that I’ve always wanted to play. I was incredibly excited when I got the call! I’ll probably get anxious / nervous closer to the dates, but currently I just can’t wait.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
SG Lewis. He’s a electronic music producer / songwriter from England. I love his sound!

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Experiencing the American culture. I’ve never been to America before.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Miso Soup?!

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
I do love a glass of red wine now and again! Or an Espresso Martini.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Probably something my mum played on her violin – she used to be in a tango band.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Spice Girls – ‘Say You’ll Be There’.

What song always makes you laugh?
Snoop Dogg – ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’. (Or just smile / dance!)

What song always makes you cry?
I don’t think this has happened. But Bon Iver’s cover of ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ gives me all the feels.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Johnny Cash – ‘Hurt’.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
I don’t think I have one. Music usually cheers me up if I’m upset or angry.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
I love the lyrics to ‘Elusive’ by Scott Matthews.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Amy Winehouse.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
OK, I probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as actually being one . . . but, a policewoman. I think this stemmed from my love of the bill and action films. Ha!

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Corinne Bailey Rae (self titled first album).

Thanks to Alice for answering our questions, and to Sally for her kind assistance.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #121: Karen Elson

 
By on Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. This set of replies comes from singer/songwriter Karen Elson, who will bring songs from her sophomore LP ‘Double Roses’ to Austin later this month. Having had the SXSW experience in the past, Elson sounds confident that this year’s festival will be a positive one. Take a listen to her current single ‘Call Your Name’ just below, then read through her Q&A.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Haunted, hunted and hungry.

(If you’ve been to SXSW before) What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
I came first with The Citizens Band cabaret years ago and then with my first record [2010’s ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, produced by Elson’s then-husband Jack White]. It’s always been fun and totally frantic at the same time.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Play music!

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
My cats . . .just kidding, hmmmm, I basically pack a small pharmacy. No time to get sick. I have terrible allergies that make me miserable but also really affect my voice and general well-being. I have Chinese herbs, vitamins and all sorts of medicines for when my allergies are acting up.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Gin and Tonic and tequila soda with lime!

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My mother playing David Bowie on the turntable.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Stay’ by Shakespeare’s Sister.

What song always makes you laugh?
Anything by Dr. Hook.

What song always makes you cry?
‘How Can I Tell You’ by Cat Stevens.

What song reminds you of a specific memory? (For example, the first time you fell in love, the first concert you ever attended, etc. It’s up to you if you want this to be nice or naughty!)
Too many to name one! ‘A Forest’ by The Cure, as my first crush was Robert Smith.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Idiot Wind’ by Bob Dylan.

Who is your favourite artist? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer, or an actor, visual artist, etc.)
Again TOO many to mention one! Sam Shepard, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Helena Bonham Carter, Neko Case!

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
God knows . . . probably a crazy cat lady.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan.

Thank you to Karen for taking the time to answer our questions, and to Chloe for her kind assistance.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #116: Catholic Action

 
By on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. This installment features Scottish alt-rock quartet Catholic Action, comprising Chris McCrory, Ryan Clark, Jamie Dubber, and Andrew Macpherson. All four band members contributed to the responses below, in what must have been a very lively conversation indeed. (If you need a bit of background info before diving into their answers, you can read through TGTF’s previous coverage of Catholic Action here.)

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
All: Full English Breakfast

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Ryan: Kicking a hole in Trump’s wall.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Chris: Are The Lemon Twigs playing? [Yes, they’re on the official SXSW schedule. – Ed.]
Jamie: I don’t know if Thee Oh Sees have been announced yet? [Nope, they’re not on the schedule. – Ed.]
Everyone: Slaves are playing, they got funding and everything didn’t they? [Yes. – Ed.]

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Chris: A VHS Camera, I make videos for bands on mine.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Jamie and Ryan: Tinnies and Ginnies
Chris: I remember Lone Star was nice from last time.

What was your favourite album from 2016 and why?
Chris: I think ‘The Party’ by Andy Shauf (like his previous LP) is an underrated masterpiece.
Jamie: ‘Moon Shaped Pool’, [by Radiohead] because I’m a fanboy.
Ryan: Whitney, ‘Light Upon The Lake’. I think it’s a perfect modern country record.
Andrew: Cate Le Bon’s ‘Crab Day’ because it’s “bloody bonkers”.

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Chris: I played SXSW before with Casual Sex in 2014. [Our archived coverage of Casual Sex, including their 2014 trip to Austin, is right back this way. – Ed.] It’s Catholic Action’s first time though in the USA and it’s Ryan’s first time in America. He says he is going to get a commemorative tattoo… I’d be inclined to believe him. He got a commemorative earring the first time we played The Great Escape in Brighton.

Now, onto our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Jamie: ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ by The Beatles.
Ryan: ‘Just a Gigolo’ by Louis Prima.
Chris: Probably The Pogues or The Lightning Seeds, I had cassettes.
Andrew: ‘Common People’, Pulp.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Jamie: ‘An LP’s Worth of Tunes’ by Todd Rundgren.
Ryan: ‘No Limits’ by 2 Unlimited.

What song makes you laugh?
All: ‘Black Dog’ – Led Zeppelin. That harmony is ridiculous. It’s the most Led Zeppelin song.

What song makes you cry?
Ryan: ‘Changes’ by Kelly Osbourne and Ozzy Osbourne. * l a u g h s *

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Chris: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Ryan: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
All: ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Jamie: Alasdair Gray.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Jamie: Pencil pushing at a bank.
Andrew: Probably be doing a PhD.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Andrew: ‘Jailbreak’, because I can’t get ‘Live and Dangerous’.
Chris: ‘Evening Star’, Fripp and Eno.
Ryan: The Smiths, ‘The Queen is Dead’.
Jamie: ‘Sound of Silver’ – LCD Soundsystem.

Many thanks to all four members of Catholic Action for their responses!

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #115: Ryan Ellis of The Vryll Society

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. The latest showcasing band to turn in their answers is Liverpool psych-rock five-piece The Vryll Society, who tapped guitarist Ryan Ellis to fill in the blanks. If you need a little background information on the band before diving in to his responses, our own Rebecca recently reviewed The Vryll Society’s new single ‘Sacred Flight’ right back here. Stay tuned also to our roundup of Northern English bands making the trek to SXSW 2017 here on TGTF next week.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Space Rock Sorcery?

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
I can’t wait to go and get lost in the night and then eventually find my way into a nice bar with a pool table. Also I’m gonna try some hot sauces, that’s right up my street.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
I’m hoping I get to go and see Temples, I’ve seen them once before they’re spot on. I’ve seen Nile Rodgers is doing a talk as well, so I’d love to go and wrap my ears around that.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
I think we’re cool on that topic, the weirdest thing is probably gonna be a pair of shorts with peacock patterns on them.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Oufff, I think it depends on the mood doesn’t it? Potentially a lovely cold beer that I haven’t tried and if I’ve already had a few then definitely a gin and tonic.

(If this will be your first time at SXSW) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I’m more excited than nervous, I’ve never been to the States before so overall I’m buzzing about the whole thing. I’ve heard the festival itself is pretty cool, so that’s just a bonus too.

What is your favourite album from the last year, and why?
I think it’d be The Coral – ‘Distance Inbetween’. You know what you’re getting with The Coral; it’s always going to be great isn’t it? Ferocious sounds everywhere, it’s fantastic.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
I don’t know about actual first memory but I remember very well listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival in the car with my Grandad, coming home after school. I love them now, that’s probably got a big part in why, to be fair.

What was your favourite song as a child?
When I was a child it was probably ‘Here Comes The Sun’ [by The Beatles] or ‘Morning Glory’ [by Oasis]. I used to sing “All your dreams are made when you’re chained to the mirror and a razor blaze”.

What song makes you laugh?
A song that makes me laugh, James Brown – ‘Living In America’. It just reminds of that interview where he’s a bit worse for wear with those fantastic orange shades on.

What song makes you cry?
A song that makes me cry, ‘A Song With No Words’ performed by just David Crosby and Graham Nash. Unbelievable.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
A song that reminds me of falling in love. Ermmm, ‘I Believe In Miracles’ by Hot Chocolate.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Listening to a lot of artists make me upset, especially when they aren’t here anymore and I won’t get the chance to meet them or see them.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
At the minute it would be ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ [by Crosby, Stills and Nash].

https://youtu.be/JMbuJXQCIvo

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
John Lennon, for now.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I don’t know, maybe something mad like a marine biologist or an astronaut, hopefully.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
I’d bring Jackie Gleason – ‘Music For Lovers Only’, maybe he’d let me bring some more in after that.

Thanks to Ryan of the Vryll Society for his considered replies, and to Matty for his kind assistance.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #113: Silences

 
By on Monday, 20th February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions.

TGTF got a sneak preview of Northern Irish five-piece Silences at SXSW 2016, when their frontman Conchúr White had a last-minute opportunity to make the trip to Austin. We caught White for this interview during his initial SXSW foray, and he mentioned looking forward to having his bandmates join him for SXSW 2017. (In case you missed it, our full coverage of Silences at last year’s festival can be found right back here.)

Describe your music / sound in three words.
Passionate, Real, Diverse??

(If this will be your first time at SXSW) What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I was invited to play at a few unofficial solo shows last year and it was eye opener. It was probably one of the biggest turning points for me as a musician, There is just so much out there and if you don’t nail it, no one cares because there is probably an act on next door is killing it. It made me want to get better and come back with the group this year and here we are. Most of the group haven’t been to the USA so they’re very excited.

(If you’ve been to SXSW before) What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Do as much as you can. Austin is beautiful, enjoy that. Enjoy the people and the atmosphere. I’ve never experienced anything like SXSW before.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
There are countless acts but I’ll give you two. Agnes Obel for the simple fact that she and her group are stunning. They performed at a festival we were at a few years ago and it was just one of the most special things I have witnessed. The other is Jealous Of The Birds. We have the same management but I recommend seeing her without any bias. Her songs are beautiful and people are really starting to take notice. Her band have come on leaps and bounds and I think they’re going to have a great SXSW.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Just being there, appreciating the city and not being sick (hopefully). I had the flu last year so it kinda killed my buzz.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
I’m boring, you should ask our keyboardist though. He’s very unusual.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Please don’t we’ll probably be outrageously drunk already. Jokes, let’s get a shot.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Dancing to Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Something by Oasis, maybe ‘Rock n Roll Star’.

What song always makes you laugh?
‘Monto’ – Dubliners. My dad used to sing it to me and it reminds me of being very young and laughing uncontrollably at the rude parts.

What song always makes you cry?
So many, I’m such a baby. I was very hungover recently and burst out in to tears when ‘Fast Car’ [by Tracy Chapman] came on the radio…I know.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
‘Becoming A Jackal’ – Villagers.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
‘Poke’ by Frightened Rabbit.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
There are so many but right now, let’s say Death Cab for Cutie – the entire ‘Transatlanticism’ album.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
My favourite books are by Charles Bukowski. Favourite lyrics by Leonard Cohen.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’d probably have worked in business (unsuccessfully).

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Something I have never listened to before. Maybe ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ [by Pink Floyd]. I know, I know. I’m a fraud.

Many thanks to Conchúr for answering these questions, and to Sarah and Declan for their kind assistance.

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #112: Callum Norton of Broken Hands

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd May 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016 is here! I am now in Toronto, soaking up the sights but avoiding the CN Tower (I’m mostly afraid of heights) and waiting for some of my UK brethren to get here so we can share a plate of poutine. We’re wrapping up our CMW 2016 preview posts and before we get stuck in on the event proper, I’ve got another set of answers to our TGTF Quickfire Questions for you. This time, our kind interviewee is Callum Norton, drummer for Canterbury rockers Broken Hands, who released their debut last autumn. Last week, ahead of their appearances this week in Canada, I posted this live video from their recent BBC Introducing session at Maida Vale for Steve Lamacq at BBC 6 Music. Callum’s brother Dale answered the SXSW 2014 version of the Quickfire Questions 2 years ago, so it’s nice to keep in all the family for this set that are of course CMW 2016 flavoured.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Energetic space rock.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
RUSH!!!

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
Never been before, CN Tower…a revolving restaurant in the sky! And obviously playing to people we’ve never met!!

Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Eagles of Death Metal, for sure.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase for your time at CMW that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
SGGE Manual. [I’ve asked around and am still not sure what this is. I’m going to guess it’s something percussion related? – Ed.]

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
We’ve got a couple of festivals coming up in the UK, Isle of Wight and Lodestar Festival. Then lots of writing and some European support dates with Deaf Havana.

We’re now moving on over to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘The Okey Cokey’.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Happy Birthday’ (‘cos I knew what it meant!)

What song makes you laugh?
Tommy Cooper – ‘Don’t Jump Off the Roof Dad’.

What song makes you cry?
Simon and Garfunkel – ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Lou Reed – ‘Vicious’.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Anything by Ellie Goulding.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Elton John and George Michael – ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Jim James.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Carpet laying.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘ABBA Gold’.

Cheers Callum, we appreciate you answering these! Thanks too to Matt for chasing these up for us.

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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